5 February 2013

Uganda: National ID Project - DP Backs Defense Ministry Take Over

The opposition Democratic Party (DP) has backed a move by the ministry of defense to take over the national identity (ID) cards project.

The ministry will be in charge of capturing data and processing IDs. Much of the work will be done by the UPDF.

On March 19, 2010, the Government contracted Muhlbauer Technology, a German firm, at 64.2m Euros (about sh230.9b) to supply technology and other related services for the National Security Information System, which was being handled under the internal affairs ministry.

But by March 2012, the project had stalled over reported lack of funds. The firm had released only 400 IDs out of the over 34 million Ugandans.

DP spokesperson, Kenneth Kakande, told news conference on Tuesday taking over was a good move provided there is value for money.

He however stressed that all funds spent in the botched deal should be accounted for before more money is released.

"Someone must account for that money and show the costs. Only five people: the President, First Lady, the Prime Minister and other two got IDs. We need accountability because it is tax payer's money," he said.

He also condemned the manner in which the retired former assistant Bishop of Kampala Archdiocese Dr. Zac Niringiye and eight other activists were arrested by Police.

On Monday, Police in Kampala arrested and detained nine anti-corruption activists of the Black Monday group including Niringiye. The group which was arrested at Makerere University in the morning was later released on bond pending investigations.

They group was allegedly distributing anti-corruption leaflets which the police said was containing false and subversive language.

"They were only giving out leaflets and were not a threat to anyone at the university. If it was dangerous like police claims, the university authorities would have blocked them from accessing the university premises or would have pushed them out," Kakande noted.

He stressed that the manner in which Niringiye was treated is total proof that government has no respect to church leaders and elders which is dangerous to the future of the country.

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